Charles Scott (governor of Kentucky)
name= Charles Scott
office= Governor of Kentucky
term_start= September 1, 1808
term_end= August 4, 1812
Cumberland County, Virginia
death_date= death date|mf=yes|1813|10|22|mf=y
Clark County, Kentucky
Judith Cary (Bell) Gist
George M. Bibb
Charles Scott (1739ndash October 22, 1813) was an American
soldierand politicianwho served as Governor of Kentuckyfrom 1808 to 1812. Orphaned at an early age, Scott participated in the French and Indian War, serving under Edward Braddockand George Washington. He again served under Washington during the Revolutionary War, weathering the winter at Valley Forgeand serving as Washington's chief of intelligence during later campaigns.
Following the revolution, Scott moved to
Kentuckywhere he participated in a number of skirmishes with the Indians, including the decisive Battle of Fallen Timbers. He parlayed his military success into political gain, serving as a presidential elector in 1793, 1801, and 1809, and serving as Kentucky's fourth governor from 1808 to 1812. His most significant achievement as governor was preparing the state militia to participate in the War of 1812, including the elevation of William Henry Harrisonto command the militia. During his first year in office, Scott was injured in a fall and left on crutches for the remainder of his life; consequently, he relied heavily on Jesse Bledsoe, his secretary of state, to perform the routine duties of the office.
Scott retired to "Canewood," his home in Clark County, following his term as governor. He died there on October 22, 1813, and was buried in a family plot before being re-interred at Frankfort in 1854.
Scott County, Kentucky, Scott County, Indiana, and Scottsville, Virginiawere all named in honor of Governor Scott.
Scott was born in
Goochland County, Virginia, in the area that became Powhatan County. His father, Samuel Scott, and his grandfather, Captain John Scott, were both vestrymen of St. Peter's Parish.Powell, p. 20] Samuel Scott was also a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, and his death in 1755 left the younger Scott an orphan.Ward, p. 16] Charles Scott was educated in the rural schools of Virginia.
On February 25, 1762, Scott married Frances Sweeney of
Cumberland County, Virginia; the couple settled in Woodford County, Kentuckyand had eight children, one of whom was a twin believed to have died in infancy. With the help of slaves owned by his wife, Scott ran a mill on a large land plot near Muddy Creek and the James River.
Frances Scott died October 6, 1804, and on July 25, 1807, Charles married Judith Cary (Bell) Gist, widow of Nathaniel Gist—a cousin of General
Mordecai Gist. They moved to her family's plantationin Bourbon and Clark counties.Harrison, p. 804] Later in life, he was dogged by rumors that he drank and used profanityexcessively. [Ward, p 19]
Scott was a non-commissioned officer in the
French and Indian War, serving in Braddock's Expedition in 1755.NGA Bio] In October 1755, he was assigned to George Washington's Virginia Regimentand won acclaim as a scout and woodsman. He was assigned to ColonelWilliam Byrd's command in 1760. During Byrd's expeditions against the Cherokee, Scott rose from the rank of private to captain.
At the outset of the Revolutionary War, Scott raised a company of
Virginia militiaand commanded them in the December 9, 1775 Battle of Great Bridge. In 1776 he was commissioned a lieutenant colonelin the 2nd Virginia Regimentof the Continental Army, rising to the rank of colonellater in 1776 and brigadier generalin 1777. He served under George Washington from 1776 to 1778, and was his chief of intelligence toward the end of this period. He participated in both the first and second battles of Trenton and weathered the winter of 1777–78 at Valley Forge.Ward, p. 17] His unit fought in the battles of Germantown, Brandywine, and Monmouth, but their major engagement was the February 1 Battle of Drake's Farm.
He was captured by the British at Fall of Charleston in 1780, and was held prisoner for two years. He was
paroled in March 1781 and exchanged for Lord Rawdon in July 1782. For his service, he was brevetted to the rank of major generalin 1783.
In 1785 Scott visited Kentucky, and he moved to Woodford County near Versailles in 1787. He dreamed of founding a settlement on his land called "Petersburg" and having it become the state capital. In 1790, President Washington appointed Scott to a military board in Kentucky to investigate the need for armed frontier troops to quell Indian attacks. He and
James Wilkinsonwere given charge of the Kentucky militia, and Scott participated in the Indian wars to the north of Kentucky. Two of his sons were killed in these wars. Scott commanded the Kentucky forces in St. Clair's campaign in 1791, including the disastrous Battle of the Wabash. On August 20, 1794, he participated in the American victory at the Battle of Fallen Timbers.
Scott's first foray into the political arena came in 1789, when he served one term in the
Virginia House of Delegates, representing Woodford County. In 1792, the Kentucky General Assemblycreated a new county from Woodford County and named it Scott County in honor of General Scott. He was also chosen as a presidential elector in 1793, 1801, and 1809.
In 1808, Scott was elected governor of Kentucky by a wide margin over John Allen and
Green Clay. He was injured in a fall on the icy steps of the governor's mansion during his first year in office, leaving him on crutches for the rest of his life. His handicap forced him to rely heavily on Secretary of State Jesse Bledsoethroughout his term; Bledsoe often delivered the governor's messages to the legislature. In preparation for the impending War of 1812, Scott brevetted William Henry Harrisonto the rank of major generalin the state's militia, and raised an additional 1,400 recruits to serve under him.Ward, p. 18]
Later life and death
Following his term as governor, Scott retired from public life to "Canewood," his farm in Clark County, where he died October 22, 1813. He was originally buried in a private family cemetery, but was re-interred at Frankfort Cemetery in Frankfort in 1854. Besides Scott County in Kentucky,
Scott County, Indianaand Scottsville, Virginiaare named in honor of Governor Scott.
*cite book |last=Harrison |first=Lowell H. |authorlink=Lowell H. Harrison |chapter=Scott, Charles |editor=Kleber, John E. |others=Associate editors:
Thomas D. Clark, Lowell H. Harrison, and James C. Klotter |title="The Kentucky Encyclopedia" |year=1992 |publisher=The University Press of Kentucky |location= Lexington, Kentucky|isbn=0813117720
*cite web |url=http://politicalgraveyard.com/bio/scott2.html |title=Index to Politicians: Scott, C to D |publisher=The Political Graveyard |accessdate=2007-08-25
*cite web |url=http://www.nga.org/portal/site/nga/menuitem.29fab9fb4add37305ddcbeeb501010a0/?vgnextoid=05d3c895ddf56010VgnVCM1000001a01010aRCRD&vgnextchannel=e449a0ca9e3f1010VgnVCM1000001a01010aRCRD |title=Kentucky Governor Charles Scott |publisher=National Governors Association |accessdate=2007-08-25
*cite book |last=Powell |first=Robert A. |title="Kentucky Governors" |publisher=Bluegrass Printing Company |location=
Danville, Kentucky|year=1976 |id=OCLC|2690774
*cite book |last=Ward |first=Harry M. |chapter=Charles Scott |title="Kentucky's Governors" |editor=Lowell Hayes Harrison |publisher=The University Press of Kentucky |location=
Lexington, Kentucky|year=2004 |isbn=0813123267
* [http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Hills/7705/CharlesScott.htm Charles Scott Bio]
* [http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=6864649 Find-A-Grave profile for Charles Scott]
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